Monday, June 06, 2005

Ghouls Undoomed By Daylight:

A Ghazal

We look to the bright, sharp blood of slaughtered lambs upon the hill,
The sound and scent of it, the barking death call and uneasy relaxation of the bowels of things unmade, grisly with the shaking of their doom,

The fires, even, grow stupid with slowness and the drawn-out belching of
rubber smoke into the valley, their lax and drooping flames too heavy to climb as they should, rather hulking and bloated upon the trash heaps,

The sea we thought dead and entombed in the desert's bosom returns as
the year turns to flooding, all manicured lawns now eaten whole and
run to quagmire while pink flamingos whose wings never come inland so far stare their plastic and unchangeable expressions in the dirty blue,

The barren places have been filled with refugees, fearsome hunger upon them,
swelling lip and belly, turning eyes blind and eating away bone like ghouls
undoomed by daylight, and flies drink from the corners of their eyes as
they stare, unmoving, into the unclouded reaches of blue, made at last

All our songs now contain the diminished chords of dispondency, the
plaintive arpeggios made by the shaking hand, the great payloads of our
war machines turned to desperation as we find that there remains no
unifying enemy, no fuel to continue our ripping doom that defined us,
no one but our own thin numbers to mourn the long gone day, for
the world we created has now turned a hardened cheek, to our travails--

--Author's Note: Without making the print for this one absolutely tiny, I was unable to maintain the exact spacing this poem was laid out in initially, with very long lines. You'll note a few irregularities in this respect, and hopefully allow for the fact that this format is challenging to present in this venue. A rigorous formal poet might also find that my use of the ghazal form takes some liberties, exploding the couplet format out to sometimes as many as seven lines. It may be said that this ghazal has grown to giant and horrid proportions, though I hope that is not truly the case. At any rate, I submit it for your approval or disregard.


Braleigh said...

I feel so ashamed- I've never even heard of a Ghazal prior to reading this. Everything about this was exactly what I was craving at this very moment. (My father is currently standing outside of my door and pounding on it and screaming a whole bunch...and I feel indifferent.)

I really do like the format, I shall have to hunt down more of these/force you to write more for me. Wahahahaha!

Firehawk said...


There are so many formal modes of poetry that no one knows them all. The Ghazal is a for that originated with Arabic/Turkish/Persian poems of couplets with the first two lines rhyming, then the second line of each subsequent couplet rhyming with the first. The rhyme could be used with or accompanied by a refrain of some sort. In modern Ghazals, the form is just a jumping off point. I chose to expand the couplets to stanzas of various lengths, and do away with the ending rhyme. I suppose its a Ghazal in only the roughest terms.

As far as wanting more, your wish is my command!

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